On 8 March I issued a written statement to the House—Official Report, column 59WS—announcing that Tom Winsor had published the first report of his review of remuneration and conditions of service for police officers and staff in England and Wales.
We have the best police force in the world, but I said when the review was launched, it is vital that we have a modern and flexible service to meet the demands placed on it. The Government recognise and value the professionalism of the police and have made clear their commitment to supporting and maximising front line services to the public. Police officers and staff should be rewarded fairly and reasonably for what they do. They deserve to have pay and work force arrangements that both recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe and enable them to deliver effectively for the public.
The Government have also been clear that action is needed to tackle the deficit responsibly to ensure that the taxpayer gets a fair deal from all parts of the public sector. The police service has its part to play, and in an organisation like the police, where pay is 80% of police revenue expenditure, there is no question that pay restraint and pay reform must form part of the package. In this context, it is more important than ever that the police leadership has the flexibility to manage forces and protect the front line services.
The review has an important role in enabling the police service to do this. Tom Winsor was asked to look at how remuneration arrangements and conditions of service for police officers and staff can best support and enable the police service to serve the public and provide value for money for the public taxpayer.
In particular, the terms of reference asked for recommendations on how to:
use remuneration and conditions of service to maximise officer and staff deployment to front line roles where their powers and skills are required;
provide remuneration and conditions of service that are fair to and reasonable for both the public taxpayer and police officers and staff;
enable modern management practices in line with practices elsewhere in the public sector and the wider economy.
In recognition of the urgency of these matters, the review was asked to report in two stages: the first on short-term improvements and a second report on longer-term reforms.
The Government have now had the opportunity to consider the review’s first report. It sets out the following broad principles:
Fairness is an essential part of any new system of pay and conditions.
The Office of Constable is the bedrock of British policing.
The demands of policing should be given full and proper weight.
People should be paid for what they do, the skills they have and are applying in their work, and the weights of the jobs they do.
People should be paid for how well they work.
A single police service—distinctions in pay and other conditions of service between police officers and staff should be objectively justified.
Arrangements should be simple to implement and administer.
Phased introduction of reform.
We welcome these principles, and believe that they provide a framework for fair and sustainable arrangements for remuneration and conditions of service.
The review also sets out a package of specific recommendations for police officers’ and staff remuneration and conditions of service, based on these guiding principles. I have consulted the Independent Chair of the Police Negotiating Board and Police Advisory Board for England and Wales and I will direct those bodies to consider the proposals that are within their respective remits for police officers in England and Wales as a matter of urgency. I will also be writing to the Association of Police Authorities and the Police Staff Council to recommend that they consider the report’s recommendations in respect of police staff in England and Wales.